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Czechs protest against demolition works in the center of Prague

Czechs protest against demolition works in the center of Prague
Demolition of old buildings in Prague is a "plague" for historical heritage of the Czech Republic

Hundreds of protesters gathered on the streets of Prague to protest against plans of the city administration to demolish the old house in Art Nouveau style on Venceslav Square in Prague.

The action for protection of the historic monument was organized by the Club for Old Prague. reports that protests started after the Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic Jiri Besser approved the demolition of the building last week. According to the minister of culture demolition of the monument will help to avoid expensive litigation in court.

People, who participated in the protest, carried banners reading "Say no to destruction of the house built in 1601" and "Minister of Culture = Investors." According to the defenders of the Prague monuments from the "Club for Old Prague", the mansion is an architectural heritage of the whole Czech Republic.

The first person, who disapproved governmental policy on ancient monument in Prague, was Michal Stelik, Dean of the Faculty of Arts of the Karlovy University in Prague. He was supported by prominent Czech historians and architects. Protesters were also supported by the former Czech President Vaclav Havel, who wrote a statement in this regard.

More than 10,000 Internet users have already joined the protesters from Prague. Currently the building in the Art Nouveau style on the corner of Venceslav Square is protected by UNESCO as part of the square ensemble. According to the experts on preservation of historical heritage of the ICOMOS fund the destruction of old house in Prague is unacceptable.

Organizers of the protests noted that government actions relegate UNESCO protection to catastrophically low level, which could be a dangerous precedent for other historic relics of Prague.

On the site of the old mansion in Prague is planned to be constructed a multifunctional business center with 3 underground floors and 9 floors above the ground. There will be an underground parking, offices and shops.

Club for Old Prague is a non-governmental organization, which appeared in the late 1990's, when the center of Prague began to be massively developed for commercial projects. Activists of the club have repeatedly initiated litigation with developers. However, only a small part of their claims were accepted.

Ilya Kalachev

Date: 10/06/2011

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